New Delhi: Amidst reports pointing at the discolouration of Taj Mahal, a parliamentary panel has recommended that a “multi-pronged” strategy be adopted to preserve the “pristine beauty” of the monument and asked the Archeological Survey of India to submit at the earliest an action plan for the same.
The committee for Demands for Grants (2015-16) for Environment Ministry also asked the government to “vigorously” implement a long-term strategy for developing and environmentally preserving the Yamuna river catchment area around Taj and check vehicular pollution in the historic city. “A multi-pronged strategy is needed to address the challenge of preserving the pristine beauty of the Taj Mahal, for which the committee has made some suggestions.
“ASI should submit an action plan at the earliest and take immediate steps to protect Taj Mahal. A long-term strategy for developing and environmentally preserving the river Yamuna catchment area around the Taj as also ensuring mitigation of vehicular pollution in and around Agra ought to be vigourously implemented,” the committee said. The committee, headed by former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar, also recommended that afforestation should begin forthwith in the area surrounding the iconic mausoleum.
The committee took note of a study conducted by two IIT, Kanpur, scientists which states that discolouration of Taj Mahal was taking place due to particulate carbon and dust deposits arising from combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. The committee observed that despite efforts “claimed” to have been made by the Environment Ministry, Taj Trapezium Zone Authority, UP Pollution Control Board and ASI, pollution continues to affect the world heritage site and the “sorry” state of affairs clearly indicates that the authorities concerned had “failed” to discharge their duties.
The committee also said that for environmental management at heritage, pilgrimage and tourist centres, including Taj Protection Mission, no outlay has been earmarked and only a token amount of Rs 1 lakh at the Budget Estimates (BE) level was allocated under the Plan head in 2014-15, out of which “not even a penny” was utilised.